Wandering Monsters: The Bigger They Come...

Wandering Monsters 
The Bigger They Come...

By James Wyatt

Ogres, trolls, minotaurs . . . well, let’s go bigger, shall we? Giants have been a fixture in D&D since the G series of modules back in 1978: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief (G1),Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (G2), and Hall of the Fire Giant King (G3). Each adventure featured one of the races of evil giants, mostly omitting the giants that are at least sometimes not evil: stone, cloud, and storm. So six types of giant are firmly established in D&D lore. Lots of others have cropped up from time to time (mountain giants, fog giants, jungle giants, reef giants, and so on), but for this column we’ll focus on the classics.

Talk about this column here.

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Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Um, was there anything new at all here?
I mean, I could have gotten most of that from reading old MMs.

Altho hard coded Strength with Halflings capable of being mightier than Hill Giants still sends me into chuckle fits. 
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
Giants could be a excelent rival or antagonist for dragons and draconic creatures. A giant should be the creature could kick-ass dragons. The dragons-giants conflict could inspire lots of stories. The third faction should the fays, the descendants from old deities (or primordial forces) who lose a ancient cosmic war . 

* Stone giants can be almost "noble savages", but please, they shouldn´t be too stupy. 

* Hill giants are only "big brother" of ogres (and black sheep of giant family). I say they can stronger but background is almot identical. Do you rebember Lovecraft´s myths about ancient but degenerated races? Ogres could have been created or "raised" to be slaves. Hill giants and ogres should have got different style or identity, no only different monster stats and look. Ogres can´t be only weaker version of hill giants.


* I suposse a link stone giants and PC race goliath could be posible. (goliaths and half-giants are two different´s races in next D&D?).


* I imagine giants like creatures with mystical links with elemental force and primordials. When the ancient gods fighted the primordials, the giants were the army. Some giants would hate the current pantheons because they know their ancestor were the gods of the loser faction. (Do you rebember the giants-Asgardian deities war (Aesir vs Vanir) from Wiking mythology or Olimpics vs Titans for Titanomachy?)

* Other optionn is some giants are secretly kings and rules of mortals (by power of change shape and size), or the noble blood used magic to become giants with longer lifes that elves (something like the socerer-kings from Dark Sun but with giant blood instead dragon of Tyr). Try imagine the surprise by PCs when they are going to kill the leader of raider mammoths-rider ogres tribe but he is a shaman verbeeg (AD&D giant), or the elite bodyguards of evil high priest of forbidden hellfire cult are really fire giants.


* I wonder AD&D firbolgs were giants who lived for too much time in the feywild (and he could have got a piece of fay blood). In the past giant tried conquer the feywild but fays didn´t allow it.


* I like the idea of fomorian like tainted giant bloodline. Formorian could be giants who survived a zombie/ghoul plague but the sickness affected by other way...(and the plague stopped when  the mindless undeads were eaten by too hungry fomorians). Other options is usual humans who used tainted magic to be "perfect soldier" but it didn´t work totally like they wanted and he became fomorian-like creatures. (I am sorry, I can´t avoid forget the fomori from Werewolf: the Apocalypse. I like the idea of when you are going to defeat a usual mortal you discover is a monster who transforms front of your eyes)

* I wish giants riding paraceratheriums (a prehistoric beast, the largest land mammal known). Ice Age animals could be in the second monster manual.

Verbeeg and voadkyns shouldn´t be fogorten.

* What if any (two heads giant race) ettins could have got four arms and psionic powers (by a added template, and because mind slayer or the zern created it to be host of experimental psionic parasite)?  

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I like the descriptions of the individual races with the exception of Titans.  While I agree that including both old style Titans and 4e Titans is important and should be a major goal, calling them both Titans is unnecessary and confusing.

I am mostly a fan of AD&D systems, but rarely if ever used the AD&D Titans in two decades of playing those versions of the game.  I LOVE 4e Titans and the connection they have to Primordials, Giants and even 4e Archons.  However I wouldn't be too upset if AD&D Titans kept the "titan" name and 4e Titans were called something else to help differentiate them.  Having them both be the same race with the same origins strains my belief too much.  Make AD&D Titans related to the Gods and 4e Titans related to Primordials.

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Concerning "Default" Rules
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I liked it all, except I  wasn't quite sure where the "Hil Giants have eating contests and rank themselves according to their ability to eat" came from.


That seemed a bit.... odd, to say the least.  I can see them as gluttons.  But I not choosing their leaders based on who can win a pie pig eating contest.


Was that part of the G-module or just where did that bit of story/ fluff come from?

Frankly - being big and dumb -I'd expect them to pick their leaders by whacking each other over the head.  Last one standing is in charge.   Eating contests seem awfully tame and pacifistic for such a brute.


Carl

Um, was there anything new at all here?
I mean, I could have gotten most of that from reading old MMs.

I think that's kind of the point.  "These aren't broke, we're not 'fixing' them."
I like the descriptions of the individual races with the exception of Titans.  While I agree that including both old style Titans and 4e Titans is important and should be a major goal, calling them both Titans is unnecessary and confusing.


I don't think the difference is actually that great.  The classic titan is clearly a storm titan, what with its fondness for chain lightning and general Zeus-iness.  (And yeah, I know Zeus killed titans.)  Sounds like they're just opening up that concept some more.  And I really like the note that every titan is unique.  At that weight class, a monster really should be.  Even at the highest levels, titans aren't something you're going to be fighting lots and lots of; they're "final boss" material.

The primordials vs. gods thing is highly setting dependent, not worth dividing the "titan" concept in two over.  When you get down to it, the ancient history of the cosmos is simply not something relevant to gameplay in the default D&D campaign.  If a DM wants to make it relevant to their campaign, they're free to decide which side of the line the titans fall on - or maybe, like 4E's abominations, they fall on both sides.
Frankly - being big and dumb -I'd expect them to pick their leaders by whacking each other over the head.  Last one standing is in charge.   Eating contests seem awfully tame and pacifistic for such a brute.


Every monster and its auntie picks their leaders by whacking each other over the head.  The eating contest thing seems a bit silly, but I approve of it as an attempt to do something with a little more character and show that even big, stupid, evil monsters don't have societies totally defined by violence.  And it isn't hard to justify such "pacifism".  Fighting is work, and hill giants are lazy.  A cultural practice that lets them fill their faces is going to be much more appealing than a cultural practice where they have to pit all their strength against a guy just as strong as they.
The primordials vs. gods thing is highly setting dependent, not worth dividing the "titan" concept in two over.  When you get down to it, the ancient history of the cosmos is simply not something relevant to gameplay in the default D&D campaign.  If a DM wants to make it relevant to their campaign, they're free to decide which side of the line the titans fall on - or maybe, like 4E's abominations, they fall on both sides.



I totally disagree.  It hurts nothing in the rules, or general D&D default setting to separate them.  However, if you don't it does cause issues down the line when writing the World Axis cosmology when suddenly you have to separate them.

Real world mythology has nothing to do with it.  D&D Titans have never had anything to do with Greek Titans, sharing only their name, which honestly just means they are big.  4e Primordials are more like Greek Titans than anything that has ever appeared in D&D before.

I would prefer to see Primordials --> Archons --> 4e Titans --> Giants on one side, and Gods --> Angels --> AD&D Titans --> [Giant-kin maybe?] on the other side.

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Frankly - being big and dumb -I'd expect them to pick their leaders by whacking each other over the head.  Last one standing is in charge.   Eating contests seem awfully tame and pacifistic for such a brute.


Every monster and its auntie picks their leaders by whacking each other over the head.  The eating contest thing seems a bit silly, but I approve of it as an attempt to do something with a little more character and show that even big, stupid, evil monsters don't have societies totally defined by violence.  And it isn't hard to justify such "pacifism".  Fighting is work, and hill giants are lazy.  A cultural practice that lets them fill their faces is going to be much more appealing than a cultural practice where they have to pit all their strength against a guy just as strong as they.



Perhaps.  But this sounds much more appropriate as a one-off idea:  Most hill giants are lazy and cruel and known for whacking each other over the head, but these hill giants over here are different - they determine their leader by seeing who can eat the most. 


For most hill giants, I'd expect to see cause and effect flipped:  The leader isn't the leader because he eats the most, the leader eats the most because he is the leader.   Maybe he eats the most because he is the best at takig food from his lessers, maybe he eats the most because he is better at raiding the villagers, maybe he eats the most because he is a bit stronger and cleverer than the others.


In short - I have no problem with - in fact I like - the idea of them being driven by their 'giant-sized' appetites; gluttony (and prodigious drinking) both seem perfectly inline with what I would expect.  It's just the idea of them using such a civilized way of picking their leader that seems out of place to me.

Carl
I liked it all, except I  wasn't quite sure where the "Hil Giants have eating contests and rank themselves according to their ability to eat" came from.


That seemed a bit.... odd, to say the least.  I can see them as gluttons.  But I not choosing their leaders based on who can win a pie pig eating contest.


Was that part of the G-module or just where did that bit of story/ fluff come from?

Frankly - being big and dumb -I'd expect them to pick their leaders by whacking each other over the head.  Last one standing is in charge.   Eating contests seem awfully tame and pacifistic for such a brute.


Carl


I basically saw it saying that hill giants are giant haflings with that culture as well, only they are giants, big and dumb, instead of tiny normal people.
I totally disagree.  It hurts nothing in the rules, or general D&D default setting to separate them.

Conceptual fragmentation is a problem when overused, and it should be avoided wherever feasible.  It leads to option overload and and feelings of discontinuity.  I will grant that doing it to a high-level and rare monster is not as harmful as doing it to, say, a core class.  But here there is simply no reason for it.  No reason to say to players of either edition, "Those things you thought were titans?  They're not titans."
Fire, Frost, Stone and Storm giants; each element should be represented but none should hold position higher than another. Cloud Giants have no place, except as a contrived race in my opinion, while the others have elemental basis.  Hill Giants are the most commonly encountered exampe, and also the most 'mortal'. Otherwise I'm fine with the general back stories. 

Not sure how I feel about Titan's being reduced to just Demi-Gods, as it diminishes them overall. I'd prefer to stand by their Mythical Status as rivals of the gods, who in the end were defeated, even if that's not the story used for them.

The strengths of these creatures is something that bugs me. Overall, an Elemental Giant should be at least 5x's as strong as a Commoner NPC. Hill Giants ought to be twice as strong as an average PC. There needs to be serious gaps between a Party's physical strength and a Giants, to enforce the dangerous nature of the encounter (I don't necessarily mean 5x Str score or modifier, just in general).
Conceptual fragmentation is a problem when overused, and it should be avoided wherever feasible.  It leads to option overload and and feelings of discontinuity.  I will grant that doing it to a high-level and rare monster is not as harmful as doing it to, say, a core class.  But here there is simply no reason for it.  No reason to say to players of either edition, "Those things you thought were titans?  They're not titans."



There is a reason.  The two concepts do not mesh in any way, shape or form.  They're cramming two entirely different things into the same namespace.  That make far less sense than telling me that my 4e Titan is now an Elemental Colossus.  Or if you prefer that the AD&D Titan is simply a Colossus.

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Not sure how I feel about Titan's being reduced to just Demi-Gods, as it diminishes them overall. I'd prefer to stand by their Mythical Status as rivals of the gods, who in the end were defeated, even if that's not the story used for them.



Do you understand the context in which they are using the term Titan?  I get the impression that you don't.  A Titan was an AD&D monster of great strength and size.  Civilized and generally not threatening to PCs.  They were Chaotic Good in Alignment.



TITAN
FREQUENCY: Very rare
NO. APPEARING: 1-2 (10%)
ARMOR CLASS: 2 to -3
MOVE: 21"or 15"
% IN LAIR: 10%
TREASURE TYPE: E, Q (X IO), R
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 60%
INTELLIGENCE: Genius to
ALIGNMENT Chaotic good
SIZE: 1 (IS'+ tall)
PSlONlC ABILITY: 101 to 200
HIT DICE: 17-22
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 7-42/8-48
supra-genius
Attack/Defense Modes: 6, C, D, e/Special
Titans normally dwell on a plane somewhere above the material, but
occasionally they will visit the latter plane for various periods of time.
Those dwelling on the Prime Material Plane for an extended period will
acquire treasure as indicated above.
To determine the armor class and hit dice of any given titan simply roll a 6-
sided die: 1 = armor class 2 and 17 hit dice; 2 = 1 and 18; 3 = Oand 19; 4
= -1 and 20; 5 = -2 and 21; and 6 = -3 and 22. Titans with only 17 or 18 hit
dice move at 21". Those with 21 or 22 hit dice do 8-48 hit points of
damage/attack.
Titans can became invisible at will. They can also levitate and/or become 

ethereal twice per day. All titans are able to employ both magic-user and
clerical spells of 4th, 5th, 6th or even 7th level. To determine how many
levels of spell use in each category a given titan possesses, simply roll a 4-
sided die and add the result to 3. For each level of spell use, the titan can
use 2 spells of each category, so the minimum number of magic spells
possible for any titan is 8, and the same applies to clerical spells - 2 of 1st
level, 2 of 2nd level, 2 of 3rd level, and 2 of 4th level. (If specific titans are
not prepared, simply determine which spells are known by any given titan
at the time of encounter by random selection from the spell tables.) The
protection from evil spell of titans is of twice normal strength with respect
to lawful evil beings.
All titans possess 8 or more psionic abilities of the type possible for clerics.
Roll two 6-sided dice and add the resulting number to a base of 6 to
determine the total number of abilities. (Ignore the ability of levitation.)
To determine psionic strength add the score rolled on percentile dice to a
base of 100. They use all abilities at seventh mastery level. Psionic attacks
have no affect on titans.
In addition to their own language, titans are able to speak the six dialects
of the races of giants. All titans are also conversant in the common tongue
as well as that of chaotic good.
Because of their particular predisposition, titans deal with storm giants on
highly amicable terms. It is 20% probable that a storm giant will be with
any single titan encountered.
Description: Titans appear very much as humans do, but they are all very
muscular, handsome, and wear no facial hair. Their dress and armor
appears Grecian.




You are confusing them with Greek Mythology Titans which were the progenetors of the Gods, and are most like 4e's Primordials of anything ever appearing in D&D. 
 

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Not confusing, Kalix.  Stating my preference for Titans closer to the Mythology than D&D's take on them.
Not confusing, Kalix.  Stating my preference for Titans closer to the Mythology than D&D's take on them.



Which is what Primordials are.  I hope they keep them in the game, and not just in a World Axis cosmology.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

If that's what Primordials were in 4ed, they should be called Titans, then.  And whatever the other thing is should be given a different name.  Or dropped altogether.  There's enough creatures filling the same role that it really shouldn't make a difference.
If that's what Primordials were in 4ed, they should be called Titans, then.  And whatever the other thing is should be given a different name.  Or dropped altogether.  There's enough creatures filling the same role that it really shouldn't make a difference.



Although I sort of agree with where you are coming from, Titans in D&D have nigh on 40 years of history in the game as sylisitically Greek, colossal human-like creatures with nothing in common with Greek Mythology Titans.  So I don't see your scenario happening.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

If that's what Primordials were in 4ed, they should be called Titans, then.  And whatever the other thing is should be given a different name.  Or dropped altogether.  There's enough creatures filling the same role that it really shouldn't make a difference.



And while they are at it, lets change Gorgons, Medusa, Lamia, Rakshasa, etc (I'm sure I'm missing quite a few) to match their roots in Mythology - right?


After all - if it doesn't match the mythological thing of the same name, it doesn't belong in the game.

Or not.


Names are labels and the meaning of labels changes over time.  The label "Titan" has acquired a specific meaning in the context of the D&D game that is different from the label "Titan" in the context of real world mythology.  Thta is how language works. 

Although we might raise a generation of gamers who know just a tiny bit more about myth and legend by making this change - I'm not sure that is reason enough to bother.

Carl
::shrug::

I'm not opposed to making those changes, actually.  Names may be Labels, but they are also Titles.  The Minotaur, the Medusa, the Titans...these are specific beings whose names bring to mind specific circumstances.  Gorgons, Lamia and Rakshasha don't have the same kind of specific hold on imagination.
Gorgons, Lamia and Rakshasha don't have the same kind of specific hold on imagination.



Not on your imagination, but I suspect that those with more knowledge of those specific myths would disagree with you.

On a side note as a D&D and Guild Wars player I found it interesting while researching this that Rahshasa and Asura are interchangeable... 

 
<--- Really?? --->

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

::shrug::

I'm not opposed to making those changes, actually.  Names may be Labels, but they are also Titles.  The Minotaur, the Medusa, the Titans...these are specific beings whose names bring to mind specific circumstances.  Gorgons, Lamia and Rakshasha don't have the same kind of specific hold on imagination.



And just to play the 'name the fallacy' game that has become so popular of late (personally - I don't hold internet discussions to the same standards as genuine logical debate - as long as we avoid blatant strawmen and ad hominems) -- but this brings us to:


Etymological fallacy – which reasons that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning


Carl
Actually, the concept of many things changes based on a particular mythology. Griffons are different in Greek and Egyptian mythology. Elves have many different incarnations, as Tolkein knew very well. Some people may have a certain fixed idea of what a particular monster is, but that doesn't mean everyone (past or present) does.

Carl is also absolutely right about the etymological fallacy. Meanings of a given word or phrase have often changed between cultures and different periods of time. (The King James Bible is a very good example of this).

Just FYISmile
When using Titan in modern language, is it not most often used to describe something that presents qualities similar to the original meaning?

D&D may have renamed a creature Titan and given it attributes and characteristics, but that does not mean that it has shifted the meaning of the word itself, outside the game.  When you say Titan to someone, unless you are having a discussion of D&D (or EVE LoL), can you with honesty tell me they do not first think of the Greek Myth?
When using Titan in modern language, is it not most often used to describe something that presents qualities similar to the original meaning?

D&D may have renamed a creature Titan and given it attributes and characteristics, but that does not mean that it has shifted the meaning of the word itself, outside the game.  When you say Titan to someone, unless you are having a discussion of D&D (or EVE LoL), can you with honesty tell me they do not first think of the Greek Myth?



Yes.  I honestly think of something very large, and would (even though I am a lifelong D&D player) think first of a moon of Saturn.


Ti·tan


  [tahyt-n]  Show IPA


noun
1.
Classical Mythology .
a.
any of the sons of Uranus and Gaea, including Coeus,Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Oceanus.


b.
Also, Ti·tan·ess. any of the sisters of these, includingMnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Tethys, Themis, and Thia.


c.
any of the offspring of the children of Uranus and Gaea.




2.
the Titan, Helios.


3.
Astronomy one of the moons of Saturn.


4.
usually lowercase a person or thing of enormous size,strength, power, influence, etc.: a titan of industry.


5.
Military a two-stage, liquid-fueled U.S. intercontinentalballistic missile in service since the late 1950s and designedfor launch from underground silos.



Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

When using Titan in modern language, is it not most often used to describe something that presents qualities similar to the original meaning?

D&D may have renamed a creature Titan and given it attributes and characteristics, but that does not mean that it has shifted the meaning of the word itself, outside the game.  When you say Titan to someone, unless you are having a discussion of D&D (or EVE LoL), can you with honesty tell me they do not first think of the Greek Myth?



Depends on the age and education of the person.

Some will think of the AD&D version.
Some will think of the Greek Myth.
Some will think of the giants from Xena, The Warrior Princess.
Some will think of the football team.
And some will think of the comic book "The Teen Titans".
(And someone will probably think you mis-spelled Titian)
edit:  Oh yeah - and some will think of Saturn's Moon.

Overall - I doubt that most would really know enough of myth to tell the difference between number 1, 2 and 3.


I'd hope they know that 4 and 5 are completely different.

Speaking for myself, when I first read the AD&D version in the late '70s - yes, I did have a moment of WTF - these aren't Titans.  And then I decided I didn't care because it really didn't matter since my world wasn't placed in ancient Greece.  But at that age I also was fascinated by and read lots of books on mythology.

Carl
Speaking for myself, when I first read the AD&D version in the late '70s - yes, I did have a moment of WTF - these aren't Titans.  And then I decided I didn't care because it really didn't matter since my world wasn't placed in ancient Greece.  But at that age I also was fascinated by and read lots of books on mythology.

Carl



Pretty much the same reaction I had in 1979.

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

LOL, those are good examples.  I think Carl's are the more correct, though I'd forgotten about both Xena's and the Teen Titans.  I stand by my opinion though, that there are certain names that hold more weight than others.  For me Titan is one of those names.  I also think the characteristics of the original Titans, greek culture included or not, lend itself best to DnD in its orignal form.

You wouldn't expect Medusa to not be able to petrify with her gaze, after all.  For me, that's how I feel about the Titans. 
Um, was there anything new at all here?
I mean, I could have gotten most of that from reading old MMs.

Altho hard coded Strength with Halflings capable of being mightier than Hill Giants still sends me into chuckle fits. 



I thought the exact same thing when I was reading it. All of it was old info.
There is a reason.  The two concepts do not mesh in any way, shape or form.  They're cramming two entirely different things into the same namespace.

You say this, but I'm just not seeing it.  A 4E storm titan is a <4E titan.  What 4E did was expand the titan "family" and provide them a larger backstory in the form of the Primordials.  DMs should be free to use this backstory or not, but as far as what's actually beating up on the PCs, they're the same basic thing.

That make far less sense than telling me that my 4e Titan is now an Elemental Colossus.  Or if you prefer that the AD&D Titan is simply a Colossus.

A colossus is something else.  (A ginormous golem, actually.)
I just hope they preserve the 4e gnome stuff - I thought it was a revelation compared to previous editions, where they barely seemed all that different from slightly more magical dwarves.  I forgfot to notice if 5e elves are fey creatures or not?
I wish there was a little something that tied the giant families together besides their bigness, but I guess it's okay if there isn't. (Their attention to hierarchy comes close.) I also feel like Cloud Giants need just one more hook; the overt "Jack and the Beanstalk" influences are sort of cute, and I like that they're sort of the "finer things" giants, with ornamentation and orchards, but perhaps they could have a little something extra.

One thing to do would be to take the "ranked in wealth and etiquette" thing (and their place in the giant hierarchy) to eleven, and make cloud giants the giant equivalent of constantly squabbling nobles, jockeying for position through the hosting of impossibly lavish galas at which they hope to impress their peers - but also to trade court intrigue. They might also be, among giants, the ones with the most acute contempt for lesser beings, with even good cloud giants generally viewing lesser creatures with withering condesencion. Because the collections they maintain - rivaling the finest dragon hordes in splendor (and often better organized and cared for) - attract treasure hunters of all species, they are generally distrustful of humanoids, viewing them as parasites and thieves. Even those talented enough as entertainers or useful enough as servants to be worth keeping around are generally treated with extreme suspicion. While they're less likely to force other species into slavery than Fire Giants, their paranoia and contempt makes being a cloud giant's servant pretty unpleasant. On the other hand, the few humanoids - mostly performers and chefs, but a few with skills in areas like accounting or appraisal - who do genuinely win the favor of a cloud giant are often able to live lives of incredible luxury, as they are counted among the cloud giant's final treasures. (Although they may still find themselves the object of a high-stakes wager.) Cloud giants' incredible longevity and accumulated wealth allows them to place wagers on large-scale events - the wars waged by lesser mortals, conflict between dragons, and so on. While cloud giants regularly cheat when it comes to these bets, they do so at great risk; to have conclusive evidence of cheating presented to the public is absolutely ruinous to a cloud giant's reputation. (To groundlessly accuse an opponant of the crime is similarly damaging.)

The only creatures that cloud giants care more about impressing than each other are Storm Giants; if they are fortunate enough to have a storm giant (particularly an especially noble one) attend one of their gatherings, they pull out all of the stops to impress, and such a visit is a major coup for for the cloud giant. While they do not consider fire or frost giants their equals, they do bestow some degree of respect on them at least to the extent to which they are useful as smiths and hunters, respectively. A frost giant will boast for months about being commissioned by a cloud giant to track down some rare beast for use as a pet or a meal, and fire giants appreciate a cloud giant's ability to pay top dollar for (and to appreciate) exquisite craftsmanship, even if they find a cloud giant's preference for form over function a little frivolous.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I wish there was a little something that tied the giant families together besides their bigness, but I guess it's okay if there isn't. (Their attention to hierarchy comes close.) I also feel like Cloud Giants need just one more hook; the overt "Jack and the Beanstalk" influences are sort of cute, and I like that they're sort of the "finer things" giants, with ornamentation and orchards, but perhaps they could have a little something extra.


Cloud giants are by far my favorite giants, but I agree they need one more thing.  To me... it's bards.  Storm Giants are smart, but Cloud Giants are charismatic.  I would like them to expand on the idea that Cloud Giants are the musicians, artists, and bards of the giant world.  (After all, Jack's giant owned a magical harp -- appreciation for music fits in nicely with the existing mythology and with how cloud giants have traditionally been portrayed.)

The other nice thing about cloud giants is they live on clouds, which means they have a unique terrain that is essentially bereft of the common races.  It's one reason cloud giants can live in denial about how far the giant races have fallen.  Actually... their back story could be that of all the giant races, they've actually been able to preserve their primordial culture in their cloud kingdoms, untainted by the small folk.  So they have reaosn to be haughty.  While the storm giants rage about how their lands have been usurped by lesser folk, and the other giants have become decadent and evil, cloud giants have magnicficent castles, grand balls, emormous cloud empires as large as any mortal kingdom, but infintely more fantastical.

That's why I love cloud giants.   
I'm actually pretty cool with most of this, with a minor moment of uncertainty regarding titans. I wasn't a big fan of the whole Primordials thing in 4e (which along with the cosmology alterations among other iconic flavor changes turned me off pretty early), and so mixing some of that flavor in with the 1e/2e/3e conception of titans makes me a bit iffy.

Though to be fair, Pathfinder (which is what I'm playing right now) has two varieties of titan, a classical AD&D'esque type and a more fallen, corrupted variety which from a certain perspective isn't too different from some of what Wyatt is talking about with more elemental titans, and I had a minor hand in some of the PF type, so I can't give him too terribly much grief here.
Shemeska the Marauder, Freelancer 5 / Yugoloth 10
Make AD&D Titans related to the Gods and 4e Titans related to Primordials.



Exactly.

Do you rebember Silvara, from Dragonlance saga? A beatiful Kagonesti elf...wasn´t she?

If avatars and dragons can use humanoid shape to act among mortals...why not giants and titans can use a smaller alternative shape for a better interaction with humanoids? or because he doesn´t be found... because a leShay (fay creature from Epic level handbook) enemy is looking for reveange by past wars.

 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Titans

Titans are not true giants, but they are closely related to both giants and their gods. Titans are demigods. They are usually the offspring of one of the giant gods, and they share some characteristics of their divine parent. Some titans (particularly those with the blood of Stronmaus or Annam in their veins) are 

• noble, beautiful creatures of towering size and godlike intellect.
• Others are raging elemental monsters,

such as the offspring of Surtr, whose hair and beard are made of living flame and whose blood is molten rock. Each titan is unique, but all of them are more powerful than the strongest storm giant. They are often mercurial, even whimsical, but prone to violent fits of temper.


This approach to titans, by the way, allows us to keep both the godlike titan of early editions of D&D and the elemental creatures of 4th Edition in the game as titans—an inclusive approach we’re trying to take with most of our monsters.


Rename these “Titans” as “Jotuns” - then its all good.

Including Surtr, who in reallife Norse animism, is a Fire Jotun (Eldjǫtunn) - hair like flame, skin like soot - personifying the cosmic fire, and fated to burn the Earth (Midgarðr) during the eschaton (Ragarøkkr).

Notably the Jotuns (Jǫtnar) range in size from humansize to cosmic size, personifying the features of the cosmos, from landdisk to skydome, to polar ice, to mountains, to sun and moon, to the aerial sources of hurricanes and arctic blizzards. The Jotun responsible for the arctic storms shapeshifts into a vast eagle, whose wings sweep out the northerly windstorms. Even into modern Sweden, a particular mountain was said to have a “Wind Troll” (named Kasja if I recall correctly), who causes the odd wind patterns that send mischieveous gusts of winds out of nowhere. Loki is a humansize Fire Jotun, the spirit personifying the fire of the hearth, thus necessary during bitter winter darkness.

The Jotuns work well as the Elemental Primordeals. These spirits of chaos, the Jǫtnar, are on par with the spirits of order, the Aesir. Notably, the Jǫtnar are beautiful, such as Loki and Skaði, but often shapeshift into monstrous animals, such as Fenris the wolf who personifies the eclipse, and Jǫrmungandr the sea snake, dragon, who personifies the encircling cosmic ocean. 
It goes back to the overall feeling.

If D&D uses reallife names, from reallife folkbelief, there needs to be a genuine transmission of the reallife tradition, even if stylized and updated.

If D&D invents entirely new creatures, then these need entirely new names.